Jockey Safety First and Deaths No More – Part 7 – The Fix Is In and We’ve All Been F*cked

Yesterday I rang a number of clubs, statutory bodies, associations and Government departments as part of my research for this series I am writing about jockey safety.

One of those bodies was QRIC, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

I spoke to a member of the stewards department, and questioned the official stewards report for the meeting held at the Sunshine Coast on the afternoon of 5 January 2018. In particular I questioned the failure of stewards to mention the horse Red Mahogany that fell in the race, or to mention the jockey James Orman who had fallen with the horse and sustained a broken back.

This is what the official published Stewards Report said from the race day evening of 5 January 2015 until at least 2.00 pm today when I last checked it.

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At the conclusion of my conversation with a member of the Stewarding department at QRIC I left my name and telephone number and asked that it passed to the Chief Steward Allan Reardon with a message for him to call me.

Early this morning I again rang QRIC and spoke to the Stewarding Department and left the same message.

I was advised that Mr Reardon was on sick leave, but assured my message would be passed on to him immediately.

Since that time I have become aware that Mr Reardon has taken and received calls from a number of non-QRIC staff members in the industry both yesterday and today.

The Chief Steward has not returned my calls.

Mindful of what happened when I had lodged a complaint about a matter in Victoria relating to the harness racing driver Greg Sugars – the stewards changed their report, twice – I spoke to three respected industry figures today and voiced my concern that the Qld Racing Integrity Commission stewards would alter the official report for the Sunshine Coast meeting held on 5 January 2018 in order to conceal their incompetence, and perhaps even cover up for their culpability in the scandalous matter of failing to inquire into or investigate a near fatality at the meeting.

Call me Nostradamus.

This is what the official published Steward’s Report now reads.

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There is no mention whatsoever in the Stewards Report now published on the QRIC website that the report has been amended, altered or changed.

This is a scandal.

A young man could have died.

The Racing Integrity Commission was established to put the truth back in racing, and to ensure that the sport was clean.

Now we are all just covered in filth.

F*ck me.

Is this as good as it is ever going to get?

If the guards won’t protect us, who will protect us from the guards?

Jockey Safety First and Deaths No More – Part 6 – What the F*ck?

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This is the stewards report into the race at the Sunshine Coast on 5 January 2018 in which jockey James Orman’s mount Red Mahogany fell and jockey Nathan Thomas was dislodged from his mount Henry’s Affair after he showed great horsemanship and hurdled the stricken Orman to avoid crushing him.

Lock the names Red Mahogany and James Orman into your mind.

Now look at the steward’s report again.

What’s missing?

Jockey Safety First and Deaths No More – Part 5 – The 20 Year Old Queensland Jockey Who Broke His Back in a Fall – And Went Within an Inch of Losing His Life

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James Orman – Jimmy to his mates – is one of the most talented apprentices ever to grace a Queensland race track. At the age of just 20 Orman has ridden almost 400 winners including a Group 3 and 7 Listed Race successes, and has earned his mount’s connections just under $10 million in prize money.

In the 2015/16 season the the 18-year-old young jockey rode 143 winner to secure the Queensland Jockeys Title, and as you would expect swept the field at that year’s Queensland Racing Awards, winning the Ken Russell Apprentice of the Year, the Stewards Award, The Racezone Medal for most wins in a single month, the Queensland Metropolitan Apprentice of title, and gongs as both the QLD Provincial Jockey and the Qld Provincial Apprentice of year.

A year later, after outriding his apprentice’s claim and at ages 18 and 19 riding against grown men more than twice his age Orman rode 94 winners to finish fourth in the Queensland Jockey’s table, finishing behind only the vastly experienced international Group 1 winning riders Jeff Lloyd, Jim Byrne and Robbie Fradd.

The kid’s an amazing jockey, a rare talent of the type that only comes along once in a decade, but he’s more than that as well because Jimmy Orman is a devoted son, grandson, brother and deeply loved friend to many, and one of the best liked people in Queensland racing.

But just under 3 weeks ago, in a nondescript race maiden race at Caloundra on a Friday afternoon, Jimmy Orman had a fall and was almost lost to us all.

 

Those who were watching the horrific events unfold at the track and on screens around the state thought he was dead.

His mother, Gatton trainer Caroline Allardyce, did too. She says she thought her son was lost to her, and felt her soul breaking into little pieces inside as she raced to the phone and desperately started making calls to the track to find out the condition of the still young boy to whom she had given life.

As she was waiting anxiously with her eyes glues to the screen while the phone rang the distraught Allardyce – who was 200 miles away and helpless – saw her son who was lying prone and motionless on the track suddenly lift his head, and her heart sparked with hope, but when he seemed to collapse back on to the track again she thought that all was lost and her little boy was gone.

I can’t even begin to imagine the nightmare it must have been, and of course Orman’s Mum had no way of knowing that it was in fact the ambulance officers who had told her son to lie back down and remain still.

Jimmy Orman lay on the track for what seemed to those who love him an eternity, but what was really about 20 minutes.

Two extra ambulances were rushed to the course to treat him after the race day emergency services staff quickly identified that he has suffered spinal injuries, and the next race was delayed by 10 minutes as paramedics and doctors stabilised the young rider and then rushed him to the Sunshine Coast hospital, where he remained until the middle of the next day after been diagnosed as suffering from a wedge thoracic fracture of his spine.

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James Orman is expected to recover from his injury and return to riding sometime in the next 6-8 weeks, and no doubt the gifted rider will get climb his way back to the upper reaches of the premiership table by booting him a multitude of winners.

Were it not though for the care and efforts of his colleagues like Nathan Thomas – who also fell as he jumped his horse over Orman – and Matthew Powell and Matt McGilivray, each of whom went to extraordinary lengths to avoid their horses hitting him, James Orman could very easily have now been laying dead in a cold grave.

There is a story that goes with this.

It’s a story of failure, and neglect, and incompetence, and lack of care, and maybe even a whole lot more.

A story that runs from the top to the bottom of the racing industry and beyond.

The story makes me sick to the pit of my guts, and it’s one I wish I wasn’t the one who had to tell. But one another jockey’s going to die if I don’t tell it, and I can’t live with that, so tell it I will.

Watch this space.

Jockey Safety First and Deaths No More – Part 1 – Riding Race Horses – The Most Dangerous Occupation in the Wide Brown Land

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Memorial to fallen jockeys, Caulfield race track

Racing is the most dangerous of established sports, far more so than motor racing.

Each year in Australia, on average, it claims one life, creates one quadriplegic, causes one rider brain damage, and leaves between three and five people so badly hurt in race or track falls that they can never ride again.

Since records began in Australia, there have been 872 deaths.

After Forrest and Pye died within two days, jockeys and trainers publicly questioned whether Australia’s racing culture is contributing to the danger.

The most outspoken was Lee Freedman, concerned pressure to expand racing to compete with other sports – especially in terms of betting – was creating unnecessary risks.

He called on authorities to reduce field sizes, to vet every horse at the track pre-race, and to end the culture of tight riding.

“[Tight riding is] a macho load of rubbish that’s permeated our ranks for years and our riders are paying the penalty,” he said.

Former jockey Mitchell Beadman agrees.

“In Australia, especially in Sydney, we race very tight,” he says.

“The racing in Sydney is probably the most competitive in the world. It’s quick and it’s tight. The margin for error is very small.”

Jockey Glyn Schofield worries about pressure on riders to win, and the nature of many of Australia’s tracks.

“It’s very competitive riding,” he said.  “A lot is expected of jockeys to ride competitively”.

“There are rules we have to abide by, but maybe our rules need amending.”

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/four-in-14-months-why-are-so-many-female-jockeys-dying-on-during-horse-races/news-story/5480ebd22fd195ccd6c7101d64ab829f

This One’s Going Straight on the Pool Room Wall Maggie – There’s No Point Cashing It Cos It’ll Probably Bounce

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Mr Butterfly or Whatever Your Bloody Name Is

On the 4th of September 2017 you applied to become a member at the trots.

You said that you were excited about the opportunity to have a ride on the mobile, and super keen to have a race named in your honor called the ‘Archie Shags Maggie At 7 Minutes to Midnight Every Night Because She’s Got Big Norks Stakes’.

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Enthused by your enthusiasm we became enthusiastic to bring you on board to become our 7th new member in the past 27 years, and advised you not to worry about getting a nominator and seconder ‘cos we’d fix it for you.

Then you started writing terrible things about Twisted Vixen and Moses, and we thought to ourselves bugger you Butterfly you’re a prick, we don’t want you.

That night I was lying in bed after having a quick wank in the dunny over the latest fireman calendar when a thought struck me like a bolt of silken wool, and the little voice inside my head that never shuts up said to me ‘What a sort of a bloody name is Butterfly anyway? That bastard from the Bung is bullshitting you. If we cop this then what’s next? Are we going to start getting applications from cowboys calling themselves Marion?”

It said it again too, and again, and again, and again and ……….. I didn’t get much sleep that night and getting to work the next day by 11.30 so I could jack up some minutes and dictate this letter for one of the licensed driver McMullen girls working in our office to type was a real struggle, and thanks to you I had to work back past 2pm to get the whole thing sorted and was late to tee off at golf.

Here’s how it is Mr ‘I want the red-hots to be lily-white cos I’m a wanker who’s trying to rob Raeds and all his mates like Marshall of the ability to earn a quid’.

The Bantam-controlled Board of Directors don’t want a bar of you.

Good people like Mother Teresa, Muhammed Ali, Pope John Paul the Second, Scobie Breasley, Estee Lauder, Mark Twain, Elton John, Pele, Len Pascoe, Michael Caine, Gerald Ford, Lewis Carroll and Christopher Columbus are welcome to be members of the booming and thriving Albion Park Harness Racing Club because they apply for the honor of two dollar membership under the name that God and their oldies gave them.

I know that you haven’t and you are trying to pull the wool over our eyes, because that little voice in my head told me you are, and the little voice knows. It always knows. It knows everything. How do you think I get so many bloody trifectas on the first race on Saturday nights if the little voice didn’t tell me which favorite was going to get boxed in three back the rails ya dickhead?

You can get stuffed Butterfly. There will be no mobile rides for the likes of you.

Go and join Mensa instead.

Here’s your 2 bucks back four months later.

Go and stick it up your arse.

And we’ve kept the interest, so f*ck you.

Yours Faithfully

Damien Raedler

(Odd God)

PS We’ve written the check in your legal name of A. Butterfly.

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Clip Clops Colt Makes the Derby Final – And the Great Man Promises to Give the 1st Prize Cheque to the Kim Walters Foundation If He Wins – Well Sort of Anyway – Good On Ya Kev and Good Luck – Go the Queenslander!

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Everyone’s favorite trotting man (except perhaps the Bantams, but that mirror has two faces) Clip Clop Kev is off to Melbourne this weekend, and while I would love to tell you that he is taking her indoors to the Creswick Woollen Mills to see the Llamas, the truth is that our man at the Creek’s much more romantic than that and has a very special treat in mind for the lady he loves.

Kev’s taking Kay to the trots!

Now that’ll be a surprise to Mrs Seymour and something totally new won’t it? I’m sure she won’t mind though because she and the handsome hubby are going on a date that most harness racing lovers could only dream about.

Well it’s a whole lot more than a date really. It’s a mission.

A mission to win the Victoria Derby with their star home bred colt, the imaginatively named Colt 31.

Colts 1-30 may not have been much good, but as the old saying goes if you don’t succeed at first try and try again and one might get lucky, and K and Kay have indeed.

How will they fare at the Melton fair you ask?

I dunno is the answer.  I would know if Clip Clop would take my bloody advice and whack Dexter Dunn in the cart, but he reckons that Moses met God on a mountain and copped commandments, and that if the bloke can follow driving instructions from the Creator then he can follow them from the Clipper too.

The qualifying heats for the big one were held last Saturday night. Here’s my inexpert analysis of what went down.

Heat 1

It’s a real conundrum this one.

On paper it looked to be far and away the best of the three heats with the outstanding young Australian pacers Poster Boy and Colt Thirty One – owned by Queensland’s own Clip Clop – lining up against the alleged Purdon second stringer The Devils Own – who I actually suspect be the stable’s slow maturing but best 3YO – and the unbeaten emerging superstar from the Emma Stewart stable Konan.

Expectations were high, but in the end it turned out to be a fizzer, as qualifying heats of big races so often do.

A couple of lesser quality pacers flew out of the mobile at the start with Colt 31 and Moses had a quick look at the lead but wisely elected not to engage in a speed battle and eased the Colt From Old Clip Clop back behind them

The Colt then wobbled around the first turn – suggesting that a gear change in the form of a lugging pole, Murphy’s blinds or perhaps even a pair of Mick Pelling’s winkers might be a useful Bart Cummings style Derby addition to help it find a couple of extra lengths – and then when the two in front decided that discretion was the better part of valor Moses quickly whipped around 3-wide and crossed to a soft lead.

Moses put the brakes on once he got there and started to walk them, and before you could say Our Overanova Konan had come around and was sitting at the Colt’s wheel and walking alongside him, and until Moses hit the hammer on the Colt at about the quarter pole they spent the race strolling along leisurely like kids enjoying their last glimpse of the sun before being dragged into church by their Dad for the 10am service.

Unfortunately leading isn’t really the Colt’s favorite way to race and his lightly raced walking mate Konan liked death seating even less, and the star Victorian colt became a victim of his own inexperience by starting to pull, reef and hang and threw away his chances of early career classic success by continuing to do so throughout the entire race.

Blacks a Fakes trainer/driver Nat Rasmussen, the former wife and harness racing partner of Moses – lucky Trista can’t come to the course right now, cos we could have had an international incident on our hands – sat back in the 1-2 and smoked her pipe on The Devils Own, and Australia’s best reinsman Chris Alford steering Poster Boy sat directly on the Aussie expat’s back.

At about the 600m mark Rasmussen pulled out and went around the field and Alford followed behind her, and the pair sauntered around to challenge the leaders. Moses saw em coming and planted his foot flat at the top of the straight and for about 100m he looked home and hosed until Poster Boy hooked around the Kiwi and started motoring down the outside like the Toowoomba Tornado (Bernborough not Ben Currie) and nailed the Colt in the shadows of the post, with the Kiwi battling away into third after doing the hard yards carting the winner up.

The lead time and early sectionals were terribly slow before The Colt ramped it up and took them home to the judge in a low flying 26.6, but don’t be deceived like I was at first watch by the overall time. It ended up being a couple of seconds slower than the second and third heats, but the Derby Final will be run at a much faster clip than this race, and The Colt is a much better horse driven with a sit on a fast pace than he is carting the field around on his Sylvester Stallone up front.

Konan didn’t need a barbarian to slay him, he killed himself, and as a result won’t be appearing in the final, but I’m sure that he’ll be back to perform acts of barbarity on his opponents later on when he matures and learns to settle.

Purdon and Clip Clop superstars go through to the Derby final, and the Colt’s nemesis Poster Boy goes with them, and any of the three can win the big one with the right luck.

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Heat 2

High class New Zealand colt Spankem from the all conquering Purdon/Rasmussen barn looked to have a mortgage on this, the weakest of the three heats, and so it proved.

The Kiwi strolled to the front early in a deceptively quick lead time of 41.2 seconds and never looked like getting beaten at any stage after its rivals allowed the 10’s on shot to stroll unpressured through its first half in a pedestrian 62 and a half seconds.

As you would of the back of such a slow first sectional Spankem sizzled home in 55.4 seconds under a relatively easy drive and cruised to the line to win by 3 metres from a clustered pack of fast finishing closers headed by Code Bailey, a Christian Cullen colt out of Taffeta Bromac that’s owned and bred by Ross Pike, the nephew of a somewhat famous gentleman from Temora named Colin Pike, who one a few races once with flashy looking handy horse named Paleface Adios.

The disappointment of the race was the second favorite Yankee Roller, who had won the South Australian Derby and the $50 000 Vic Bred Platinum Series at its previous two starts and was expected to qualify easily for the final by running second to the Kiwi, but thanks to a Gavin Lang brain explosion bombed out big time and will probably next be seen in a bargain basement claiming race at Boort.

The Emma Stewart trained pacer had a dream run throughout sitting on Spankem’s back but when the going got tough in the lane the Septic Tank turned weak. He couldn’t sprint at all when Spankem turned on the burners, and faded to finish a narrow fifth after Lang – thinking he had the horse a couple of lengths back that was coming down the outside covered – let him cruise under its own speed from the 50m mark to the finishing post, a terrible mistake which saw him pipped for fourth in the last stride of the race and resulted in the colt’s invitation to the big dance this Saturday night being cancelled.

Due to the farcical speed early it’s hard to get a real good handle on this heat, but apart from the winner I don’t rate of the qualifiers as classic material and suggest that you draw a line through each of them when making your assessment of the chances in the final.

As for Spankem?

Well there is no doubt this colt is brilliant when he gets it his own way in races, but his NZ form suggests that he finds it a bit of a struggle to step up to the mark in the big ones, so unless he draws between barriers 1-3 off the mobile barrier in the big one I suggest that he might find snatching this red hot Group 1 race beyond him, although Purdon always leaves a bit in the tank for the top races so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I won’t be backing him though.

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Heat 3

The unbeaten all conquering Warnambool colt Lumineer – winner of the rich Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold Series as a 2YO – flew out from barrier 4 to lead on his on his ear, and after cruising through the first half mile in 61.5 seconds he burned home the last half in 55.5 under a tight grip to win on his ear.

The margin was only 3 metres in the end but it could have been a lot further, and the ‘Boolster’s mile rate of 1.56.0 was the fastest time of the three heats and his win looked the easiest as well.

The previously unbeaten Maraetai – named after a poor excuse for a beach in South Auckland that my kids used to paddle in when they were little – ran a bold race to finish second after circling the field from its back row draw to sit in the death for the last lap, and it will be a rough place chance in the final if it gets the right smother and a soft suck along into the race.

Third placegetter Tam Major sat on Lumineer’s back throughout and put in a great run, and while this horse seems to have a handy knack of finding the box seat in big races and punching above his weight it’s hard to see it doing again in what seems sure to be a high pressure final no matter where he draws or sits in the run.

My old mate Greg Sugars drive Little Peanut – has there ever been a better named pacer? –  was slaughtered in the NSW Breeders Final by the hook job man – for once not on purpose – but on the evidence of the colt’s plodding run in the heat after he’d received all the favors by virtue of gun run in the 1-1 you’d have to surmise that he has gone backwards since his 2 year old days, and hasn’t got a snowflakes chance in hell of knocking off any of the Big Five in the final.

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The Wrap Up

On the evidence of the heats you would have to say that Lumineer and Poster Boy look the top two in the big show, which makes for a fascinating clash because if the Warnambool wonder draws the front row he’ll be going like a bat out of hell off the gate and looking for the lead, whereas Poster Boy is almost certain to go back and swoop late with the same explosive burst of finishing speed that he thrilled us all bar Kev and Kay with in the first heat last week.

All’s not lost for Clip Clop though, not by a long shot, because the Colt goes best when it sits and sprints, and if Moses can find Poster Boy’s back when that horse goes three wide in the last lap and he can stalk him all the way into the straight and if Spankem and Lumineer have gone hard at each other up front the bloke who walked out of a stewards inquiry at Albion Park a couple of weeks ago and escaped with a light smack on the bum might just find himself in the role of the prodigal son returning home with a Victorian Derby trophy clutched in a paws.

It’d be a great way for Clip Clop to celebrate 50 years in harness racing wouldn’t it, and the big man was so excited about the prospect when we were chatting this morning that he promised to give the whole winning stake to the Kim Walters Foundation if the Colt can pull the dream off.

Well he was about to promise to anyway – I’m certain of it – but Kay called him to come and eat his bacon and eggs before it cold and so he had to go before he could actually put the pledge into words.

I’m sure he won’t mind me doing it for him though cos its only chump change of 125 grand or so, and its tax deductible anyway and with the Colt currently at the ridiculously over the odds price of $15 in the big one Clip Clip can recoup it on the punt no worries.

So good on ya Kev, it’s a bloody magnificent gesture and I take back all those nasty things I said about you being a tight arse who refuses to spring for breakfast. I’m sure the other Maroon Kevvie (Cumquat) will be over the moon when I ring him to tell him the good news in a second too.

Go the Colt! Do it for all of us!

Queenslander! Queenslander!

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Integrity Bailey, the Millionaire Aquanita Owners and the Four Legged Lottery Men Hung Out on the Line to Dry – Little Fish Are Sweet – But Big Game Anglers Chase Marlin

The Victorian stewards allege that there was wholesale organised corruption involving trainers and stable hands from the Aquanita racing operation doping horses.

The doping was so that they would win when heavily backed, or lose when they weren’t.

The charged men and women are alleged to have backed the horses in question or laid them at odds to lose accordingly.

None of the charges that any of the registered trainers are facing allege that they did it on their own, or that they did it for exclusive personal gain.

That makes sense because each of trainers charged is, or was at one time, an employee of Aquanita or a private contractor to the organisation.

Now call me a moron if you wish – many do – but isn’t it obvious that the people with most to gain from the Aquanita horses winning races when allegedly doped up to the eyeballs would be the shareholders in the company, whose profits would go through the roof as owners wanting to be part of a syndicate racing winners started flocking through the door?

Follow the money Archie, that’s what a very wise copper once told me.

So why aren’t the stewards following it?

How is it that the these trainers that are being accused of being part of a highly organised conspiracy to spike horses – an act that stewards allege is being executed within the four walls of the Aquanita operation – are being hung out to dry, and their names are being splashed across the front pages of every newspaper in the land with them labeled as crooks, when the blokes who if the allegations are correct must surely must have made the real money haven’t been charged with any damn thing and are free to walk around the top end of town in Melbourne with their heads held high?

Is this some sort of bad joke?

Or just another Terry Bailey balls up?

Is the Chief Chest Banger and Obsessive Dan Nikolic Hater really trying to tell us that the Chairman of the MRC Mike Symons and his toff mates that run Aquanita have nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged doping?

That Robert Smerdon and Stuart Webb and Trent Pennuto just woke up one day and said ‘we should do the boss a favor and start tuning horses so he makes another couple of million bucks’?

Puh-lease.

Yet here Aquanita are employing new trainers and switching horses stables and setting up new company structures to escape the opprobrium that millionaires organising wholesale rorts tend to attract, and Terry Bailey is doffing his hat to them and saying good morning sir when he passes them in the street.

Trainers and stable hands are a dime a dozen, horse floats can be hired, and clear plastic tubes can be bought real cheap.

Blokes with the cash money to build stables and run large racing operations and fund organised drug fueled plunges are a whole lot harder to find, but not that hard to track down really when they are sitting at the head of the table in a board room at Caulfield.

Little fish are sweet when you catch em.

But its Marlins that big game hunters mount on plaques and put on the wall.

And Terry Bailey’s a little kid with a $2 net catching tadpoles.

With tough guys like that walking the street don’t you just feel safe at night.

Victorian Racing has integrity alright.

Integrity Bailey.

And what more can anyone ever want than that?